Hitting the Links

Spring comes a little later to Minnesota than it does to the lower latitudes, but we hit an important milestone this weekend, as I was able to go golfing with my middle son, Joe. Here he is about to take his first tee shot yesterday (click to enlarge):

What you see on the right is the frozen creek. And while most of the course was in fairly good shape (though still quite brown), there were a few addition “traps” around some of the greens:

Of course we were playing Winter rules, so landing in the snowbank wouldn’t have been a problem. But Joe was actually aided by the remnants of Winter on the 14th hole. He had sliced his drive, and then had to cross a body of (mostly) water. He didn’t hit it well, and it headed straight for the pond.

Fortunately for him, his ball hit one of the ice floes and skipped off to land safely on the other side, setting him up for a nice approach shot to the green:

No particular social media lesson here, except that having an iPhone (or other camera phone) along makes it easy to share fun moments that will become cherished memories. (And not just because I beat Joe yesterday.)

When It’s This Cold (Part II)

Here’s my last weather-related post for a while. I couldn’t resist the update though, especially when we hit -22 Fahrenheit yesterday morning. Here was the Old Main thermostat reading:

As before, the setting on the right is the target temperature (69), while the big number is the actual indoor temperature. It’s a little warmer upstairs, but still awfully cold. There’s no way for the furnace to keep up in a big old house like ours. Yesterday’s high was -11, and we’re not talking wind chill.

So here’s a fun little video to illustrate the benefits of our SMUG North Annex (also known as the Lewis J. and LaVonne A. Aase Motor Fleet and Retreat Center.) When it’s this cold, I’m not spending much time in the attic, but I’m glad our vehicles have a slightly warmer place to be. It’s kind of amazing to watch the car thermometer reading drop after I backed out of the garage.


And as I started to say (before my Flip batteries gave out), I really appreciate having a nice warm bus (with wifi) to ride instead of having to drive.

The good news: today we topped out at 2 degrees above zero, and tomorrow should be in the 20s.

This has been a hectic week, as I’ve been working on the launch of a major new work-related blog. I’m looking forward to telling you all about it later on next week.

Meanwhile, I expect now to be able to resume some of the regular SMUG curriculum development over the weekend.

When it’s this cold…

…it doesn’t matter where you set the thermostat. In the first photo below, you see the Old Main thermostat, with the target and actual temperature. The furnace just can’t keep up.

I tell people Minnesota weather isn’t that bad (which is better than “isn’t that good,” for those of you who don’t speak Minnesotan), and that we usually have 3 weeks a year in which the temperature stays below zero F.

This is one of those weeks.

I’m on the way to university of St.Thomas for a journalism seminar. The second photo is the traffic, which is making me late (but also enabling me to compose this post via WordPress for iPhone.)

No animals or humans were harmed or endangered in the writing of this post. Traffic was stop and go, with more stop than go.

Updated: When I got to St. Thomas (about 9:45), I added this video I shot during the stop and go traffic. It’s not my best work, because I was paying attention to the road (though I was only going about 3 mph), but I think the message is good for young people considering journalism or PR careers.)


Winter Wonderland

Here’s part of the fun involved in living in Austin, Minnesota. With 7″ of snow so far (and the local public schools canceled for the day – although SMUG is still in session), I got to spend a half hour in some really productive exercise before catching the bus to Rochester.

The Task at Hand
The Task at Hand

At SMUG, the Chancellor also is in charge of Environmental Services.

Anyone for a Picnic?
Anyone for a Picnic?

These lights are called “icicle lights,” mainly for the visual effect they create. In our case, because our new garage doesn’t have gutters yet, we give that term a literal interpretation.

Icicle Lights
Icicle Lights

And after a half hour of shoveling, I had tamed the rugged driveway, much as my ancestors tamed the prairie. (OK, forget that. They didn’t get to go in and take a warm shower after they went out to chop wood.)

Mission Accomplished!
Mission Accomplished!

They also didn’t have wifi on the bus to work (or a bus to work) that they could use to share their morning experiences with the world.

So although we sometimes grumble about having to get up early to shovel the driveway and dig out after the snow plow has passed, we have a wonderful life. We’re blessed with a theater of seasons, and an opportunity to get out and become actors in the play.